“The convergence of two powerful forces is driving today’s medical innovation to the top of the national agenda: The urgent need for medical breakthroughs and the unprecedented opportunities created by recent advances in science.”
So said El Lilly & Company’s Grand Poobah John Lechleiter at yesterday’s “Advancing Medical Innovation” summit in Washington, DC. (The event was co-sponsored by Lilly and the Washington Post.) I was pleased to attend.
“Our only hope of breaking our of the crisis is through innovation that changes the terms of the trade-offs we must make and expands the scope of what’s possible.”
The Hoosier Honcho then offered a very potent example of what he meant:
“In the early 1950s, the cost of polio care in the US was predicted to be $100 billion by the year 2000 but, thanks to the advent in 1954 of the polio vaccine, the cost of treating polio in the US in the year 2000 was $100 million.”
In other words – the prediction was off by 99.9% because of game changing innovation. Can we do that again? We’d better try – and try hard.
But Lechleiter offered a crucial caveat, “Realizing the benefits of medical innovation requires an ecosystem where innovation can thrive.”
Are we there yet?